Backing up, or transferring GAIM’s username Aliases, logs, and other data

Work recently blocked GAIM (which is now called Pidgin), amongst other IM clients people had been happily using.
As this had been my work account I had custom Alias’s setup to everyones name to make it easier to find people, and while the user contacts are kept on the MSN server, the alias’s aren’t, and you have to manually copy the files across.
Under XP the config files are usually kept under :

C:\Documents and Settings\<USERNAME>\Application Data\.gaim
or %userprofile%\Application Data\.purple for Pidgin

Note : Replace <USERNAME> with your Windows login username, or use %userprofile%

The blist.xml file contains the buddy information (and the Alias’s), and the other .xml files contain your preferences, account settings, buddy pounces, etc… You’ll also find your GAIM or Pidgin logs in the aptly named logs directory, and any custom smileys and icons in the other directories.

Personally I copied all these over to a portable 120Gb HDD which I had installed portable GAIM on (which didn’t get around the application blocking, but still allows me to log in to MSN at home, etc..)

Example of where the settings were on my portable app’s drive (replace E:\ with the correct drive letter).


I hope some of this is useful to other people as I couldn’t find much info online regarding the file paths under XP.

Feel free to comment if you’ve found this useful, or found the files in places different to the above :D

Faulty ram = bad.

Man, last night was fun… Not
I was trying to copy some stuff to my mythbuntu box (which the family has taken a big liking to), and it was very slow. I would normally get 7MB/s off the network but was only getting 2MB/s and the copy would pause every few mintues for up to 2 mins.
Anyway, I checked htop (better version of top) and it showed the CPU usage was 100% on both CPU cores when copying even though the Samba daemon was only using about 30%. There was also some random mythtv log file services that would use crazy amounts of resources every few minutes, but the log file wasn’t being written to.

So I restarted the box, and it decided that it hadn’t scanned the HDD in 700 odd days, and it started to scan the drive and find various errors. After trying to repair the drive a few times and it kept finding more problems, I restarted the Linux box again and ran Mem test, on a hunch that the new ram I’d installed a week before was faulty.
!LOTS of errors! I pulled and changed some sticks around until I found the offending ram stick. Then had to run fsck manually, say yes to everything and it finally booted properly.

I think one of my Battlestar Galactica TV eps was ruined, but better than the 320Gb’s of movies and TV eps being wiped.

Sandisk Extreme Firewire Compact Flash Card Reader – Faulty

Well, being a wedding, and studio portrait photographer, I wanted to upgrade my crappy CF card reader for a riced, uber one.
The faster I could find, the Sandisk Extreme Firewire Compact Flash Card Reader. Product specs indicate it’s meant to copy at 40MB/s, run via Firewire, and requires an Extreme IV card to make the most if it.

Having a 2Gb Extreme IV CF card, I thought I might as well. I was hoping to be able to use it on my Laptop while out and about, or at the photography stall I have at the Fishermans Warf Markets in Port Adelaide.

So I hunted. While the Sandisk website indicated a few suppliers in Australia, I wanted to try before buying, especially as I was toying with the idea of the extreme USB card reader instead. Unfortunately none of the photographic stores in Adelaide seemed to have it. I couldn’t find any at Diamonds, Ted’s, or the Twin City Camera House.
Eventually I gave up and purchased the unit online from a store in Melbourne.

Finally, I received the unit, only for disappointment. It wouldn’t fit into my Laptop. It wouldn’t accept the 4 pin firewire interface. After doing some searching online I found that on most other online stores that was actually explained. Unfortunately it wasn’t shown on the Sandisk website, nor Camera Action’s :(
I then plugged it into my desktop. “Unknown device detected, please install the drivers“. WHAT THE??? Plugging the device in and inserting a CF card caused the LED to light up on the reader, but windows XP wouldn’t detect it. I tried on another computer, this one with a PCI firewire card, instead of built in… Nothing, Zilch, zip, nada, null.
This computer wouldn’t even detect the card reader, even though the light would come on. A check of windows XP’s device manager showed it had detected an unknown device, but unlike my other computer it didn’t even want me to trying installing some non-existent drivers. The device is meant to just plug in and work.

I then emailed the store, and sent the faulty card reader back. Unfortunately there are no stock of the Extreme USB card readers in Australia that I could swap it for, however the store did contact Sandisk who advised there is was a faulty batch of card readers. Arggh.

Anyway, hopefully some time this week I’ll receive a replacement Sandisk Extreme Firewire CF Card Reader, and not a faulty one.

-Crappy Product Shots-

Photo of the Sandisk Extreme Firewire Compact Flash Card Reader

Photo of the back of the Sandisk Extreme Firewire CF card reader

Note the weird plug on the back. This isn’t any standard firewire port I’ve come across before, however they come with an 8pin -> weird plug converter.

Say NO to Microsoft Office’s broken file format as an ISO standard.

Say NO to Microsoft Office’s broken file format as an ISO standard.

Reasons people should vote No :
1. There is already a standard ISO26300 named Open Document Format (ODF): a dual standard adds costs, uncertainty and confusion to industry, government and citizens;
2. There is no provable implementation of the OOXML specification: Microsoft Office 2007 produces a special version of OOXML, not a file format which complies with the OOXML specification;
3. There is information missing from the specification document, for example how to do a autoSpaceLikeWord95 or useWord97LineBreakRules;
4. More than 10% of the examples mentioned in the proposed standard do not validate as XML;
5. There is no guarantee that anybody can write software that fully or partially implements the OOXML specification without being liable to patent lawsuits or patent license fees by Microsoft;
6. This format conflicts with existing ISO standards, such as ISO 8601 (Representation of dates and times), ISO 639 (Codes for the Representation of Names and Languages) or ISO/IEC 10118-3 (cryptographic hash);
7. There is a bug in the spreadsheet file format which forbids any date before the year 1900: such bugs affect the OOXML specification as well as software applications like Microsoft Excel 2000, XP, 2003 and 2007.
8. This standard proposal was not created by bringing together the experience and expertise of all interested parties (such as the producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators), but by Microsoft alone.

Update : Google’s official blog has condemned Microsoft, and pushed for renewed support in the ODF. 

Google Maps Street View.

Google Maps new feature, Streetview!
It looks like they’ve hooked up a laptop and gps to a van with a 360° camera and taken photos of the streets every 5m or so.
I remember reading about the technology and they can make 3D scans of the buildings at the same time. Pretty nifty.

In case the above link doesn’t work try the Tiny URL version

I suggest you try clicking on the blue roads and having a look around. The links above go to the road next to the World Trade Centre site.

Google Maps Street View.